109 miles – Raised $1850 for Humane Society so far (today’s the last chance to donate!)
We started our trip out of Fort Bragg in usual fashion. Everyone got spandexed up, stuffed everything back into our bags and then rolled down to the nearest grocery store. Space is huge commodity in my bag so about all I could fit was 4 different energy and nut bars. Refilled my water bottles and took my turn watching the bikes while the other guys did their shopping.
The ride out of Fort Bragg and really most of the ride today was on small or completely non- existent shoulders. We had some wifi in the hotel and at least the ride looked pretty desolate. There’s surprisingly very little out on this part of the California coast.
However there actually turned out to be quiet a lot of traffic on the highway 1. Sandy bought himself a new knee brace at the grocery store and was feeling good. In fact, he got a ways ahead of Nick and I, popped in his headphones and unable to hear what was behind him went blasting along on the most dangerous stretch of road to date.
Nick and I made good progress for about 20 or 30 miles. The roads were constantly up or down and usually inland. Combine that with our ever present tailwind and comparatively bland scenery and there was nothing to do but just get these miles over with as fast as possible. Then a pair of logging trucks tried to kill us.
Sandy broke 1000 miles today on his own.
The road was long and straight as far as we could see and two loud trucks were coming up behind us as well as a couple cars toward us. There was no shoulder at all and even the white line was cracked and broken away. Cycling instinct told me this was going to a tight spot as I could hear the monster trucks behind us weren’t braking. I was riding what was left of the white line with a drop off to the side of the road and I chanced the smallest bit of peripheral glance behind me (at the risk of coming out of line or falling off the road) when I realized the truck was coming straight for me. I managed to flinch enough to get the bike off the drop off, feeling part of the truck just missing my elbow and go skidding into the ditch. The truck behind him swerved at me and rode the cracked white line to further show their road dominance. Nick ahead of me faired no better. The first truck missed him by inches and the draft of a truck passing so close sent him wobbling. The next truck was even closer with him fighting to keep control and how he missed getting smashed is beyond me.
The trucks never so much as braked and were not willing to give an inch to keep from crunching us. There is a bit of animosity towards cyclists out here. Generally people are nice but there are a lot of locals who get really annoyed by all the cycling traffic down the coast. We’ve passed lots of different groups on our rides and there are people from all over doing more or less the same ride as us. I can only imagine how bas that situation would have been had those trucks done that to some of the less experienced riders and familys we’d passed that same day. For being one of the most famous cycling routes in the world this section of the road was pretty disappointing.
After that I went through the typical cyclist thought process… At first I sprinted off on a 20 minute angry adrenaline filled charge thinking what I might do if I caught up with the truck. Once I’d burned off the anger I just got sad and started thinking what island nation without cars I might move too. After that the ride seemed a bit gloomy for Nick and I and we flinched every time a big truck passed near.
Many miles and hours later we finally caught up with Sandy. In typical Sandy fashion he was completely oblivious to the dangerous road and had a wonderful/ safe ride even with headphones in his ears. His saving grace was that we found him lounging at one of the most amazing cliffs overlooking the ocean we’d seen all trip. We rested for a while and eventually Sandy had Nick and I laughing again. Cheered up we set off and I saw how Sandy was handling the narrow shouldered road… Just like every road we’ve been on! Riding two abreast where he pleased… Laughing and not even noticing himself swerving this way and that while he was talking. Cars and trucks be damned, this was his road!
Sandy’s view from rock top.
The road kept getting hillier as we went but other then stumbling across a car commercial being filmed on a really windy bit it was just a lot of covering miles. We’d set our goal on Jenner as one of the only small towns that might have a hotel for us. When we rolled into Jenner we were all tired, and at our limits. No rooms available in Jenner though so at dusk we had to push on to the next town. We had no cell phone service either so we could only hope there was a room there.
14 miles later we hit Bodega Bay. A hotel gave us a discount since our ride was benefitting the Humane Society and (as always) we squeaked into a restaurant just before they closed. Today was a long ride and very hilly. It’s brought us with in 70 or 80 miles of SF though and we should be there on our next ride.